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On adls and tool support for documenting view-based architectural descriptions
Katholieke Universiteit of Leuven.
Katholieke Universiteit of Leuven.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1162-0817
Katholieke Universiteit of Leuven.
Katholieke Universiteit of Leuven.
2008 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

DistriNet is a research lab with +60 researchers. The general domain of expertise and innovation of DistriNet is the development of advanced open and distributed software applications. The research is application driven and is conducted in close collaboration with industry. One particular class of applications we target are decentralized systems that are characterized by a high degree of dynamism and change in either the problem or the system's environment. Example domains of interest are manufacturing control, supply chains, inland shipping, and traffic control.

To document software architecture, we follow the approach of views and beyond (V&B). V&B is an approach for documenting software architecture by means of a set of relevant views and adding information that applies to more than one view. Views describe (parts of) the system from different perspectives, exposing different quality attributes that are of interest for particular stakeholders.

In several projects in which we applied V&B, we experience that managing and maintaining a consistent architectural documentation is a tedious task, including maintaining the mapping between views, maintaining the related view packets within each view packet, updating context diagrams, maintaining consistency w.r.t. combined views, etc.

While V&B offers a well-defined approach to organize architectural documentation,there is a lack of support in ADLs and associated tools for documenting softwarearchitectures that comprise several, interrelated views. Existing ADL tools (e.g. AADL,ArchStudio, AcmeStudio) offer several ways to organize architectural documentation, butdo not support views as first-class concepts of architectural documentation. From ourexperience, there is a gap between the state of the art on documenting softwarearchitectures and the state of the practice in ADL tool-support for documentingarchitecture.We advocate that developing ADLs and tool support specifically targeted at view-basedarchitectural descriptions is imperative. This can significantly increase the level ofcomfort for managing view-based architectural descriptions. As a first step, weinvestigate extending an existing ADL, i.e. xADL, with support for documenting anumber of relations among view packets of structural views. We integrated this extensionin ArchStudio, and used this extended tool for documenting the architectures of a trafficcontrol system as well as a digital newspaper publishing system. We experienced that thetool significantly improves consistency management. Another interesting benefit is that the tool enables an architect to generate composed views on the fly, which was founduseful in the interaction with stakeholders, particularly developers.Currently, we are expanding the scope of xADL and ArchStudio with support fordocumenting view packets and their relations across multiple views. From ourexperience, we put forward a number of challenges that are key to translating the existingbody of knowledge on views and relations into proper tool support. These challengesinclude (1) selecting a set of practical views and relations; (2) formally specifying theseviews and relations, and (3) designing a tool that provides an intuitive user interface,while hiding the complexity that lies beneath.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008.
National Category
Software Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-19298OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-19298DiVA: diva2:530411
Conference
Fourth SEI Software Architecture Technlogy User Network Workshop, SATURN 2008
Available from: 2012-06-01 Created: 2012-06-01 Last updated: 2016-12-19Bibliographically approved

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Weyns, Danny

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Citation style
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